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Monday, 9 January 2017

Trapped ,Very sadly a young lad couldn't fight his demons any longer & took his own life last night. Heart breaking news. The paperless hearings by October 2017.

An update on the e-Dossier project at the Parole Board which aims to have paperless hearings by October 2017.
The Parole Board are undertaking a large project to overhaul the way we work, in line with our strategic objective of reducing the backlog due to constraints and ensuring more efficient ways of working.
As an organisation we have looked into new ways of electronic working. Previously, all dossiers for Parole cases (which average between 300-500 pages for reviews) were printed at our office in London and couriered out to Parole Board members around the country. This process was expensive, time consuming, and not environmentally friendly.
The E-dossier project was launched last year, with 17 members trialling the new system at first. This has now been rolled out to 176 members (85%), with the target of having 90% of the membership accessing their case information electronically by April 2017. We will be completely paperless for hearings by October 2017. At present 102 members are conducting completely paperless parole reviews across the country (50% of our entire membership).
The members have all been provided with a tablet laptop and access to the secure ‘Web Access Module’ to see their cases and download the dossiers. Project staff have worked closely with prisons to ensure access with the devices went smoothly at the prison gates, and have taken on board feedback from members to make improvements to the new system. The courier and printing cost savings that will come from this project alone mean 250 more prisoners will be able to have hearings each year.
The next steps of the project are to work with the courts and ensure our members who are current serving judges can access Parole Board dossiers through their digital judiciary accounts. We have our second cohort of new members joining our organisation in June 2017 and they will be trained to conduct paperless hearings right from the outset. Once they start to conduct parole reviews we will be a fully operational digital organisation.


A year of hope for IPPs – if Liz can be bold
There are some moments in this line of work that always stick in your mind. A name, a face. Snippets of conversation. Snatches of laughter. Stories of hope. Tales of despair.
One such encounter I have been thinking about with increasing frequency over the last couple of months was a conversation with a young male – let’s call him ‘Marty’ – serving an IPP sentence at a Cat B local prison.
 It happened several years ago, on the first day of fieldwork for a research study I had just started. I was excited about the months to come, and eager to get started.
On that day, I had already walked past HIS  cell, lost in my own thoughts, my mind on my next destination and interview, when I heard a voice shouting “Oi, Miss!”
I stopped and turned round. A tall, slim man I guessed, in his thirties, was standing in the doorway to a cell. “Who are you, then? What do you do here?”
As you might expect, this happens quite a lot. Anyone who is not a regular feature of the routine of the wing always sticks out like a sore thumb, and I am no exception.
Pleased that I didn’t appear entirely unapproachable, I introduced myself to him, shaking hands and explaining that I was from a university and working on some prisons-based research. Excitedly, I started telling him about the exact topic of the study, looking forward to his thoughts on the matter.
“Nah Miss!!” he exclaimed loudly, cutting me off. “What are you looking at that for?! You wanna be looking at IPPs!”
Being quite new to the prisons world at that time, I had yet to be introduced to the concept of the IPP sentence.
“IPPs?” I said quizzically. “What’s that?”
He looked at me as if, rather than come through the gate like everyone else, I had just landed on the wing in a shiny Martian spaceship. As he explained to me exactly what it meant to be given a sentence of ‘imprisonment for public protection’ (for a good explanation of what this means, see Darryl Foster & Rachel Hutton’s article in December’s Inside Time), I struggled to comprehend what he was saying.
The whole process, including the obstinate refusal of successive Prime Ministers or Justice Secretaries to directly address the issue after such sentences were ruled ‘arbitrary and unlawful’ by the European Court of Human Rights in 2012, just seemed so incredibly unjust. And while I was already under no illusions about the degree to which the Prison Service often represents ‘justice’, I was still shocked by what he was telling me.
This exchange is the sort of memory that makes me feel that rather than the Prison Service’s mission statement: ‘Helping [people to] lead law-abiding and useful lives, both while they are in prison and after they are released’- is a bit of a fib. A more fitting motto that I think should be at the entrance of many of our country’s failing prisons would be: ‘Abandon hope, all ye who enter here’. And this appears especially true for those sentenced to the Kafkaesque shenanigans of an IPP.
But perhaps 2016 is the year that all of this changes for IPP prisoners.
As we know this is still the season of goodwill – and for those serving IPPs, Nick Hardwick, Chair of the Parole Board, must look an awful lot like a certain Saint Nick right now… Because on November 22nd 2016, Hardwick’s championed reforms of the Parole Board Rules came into effect. Under Section 14(3) of the new Rules, IPP prisoners can now be released without an oral hearing. This represents an attempt to speed up the process and safely and effectively release as many IPPs as possible.
And the new strategic priorities of the Parole Board might also give some post festive cheer to IPP prisoners, with the promise that one of its five over-arching aims for the next 4 years is ‘directly focused on the progression of IPP prisoners’.
The number of people still serving IPP sentences has reduced from around 6,000 in 2012 to 3,859 in 2016, with the Parole Board releasing more IPPs than ever in the year 2015-16. Almost 40 IPP cases come before the Board per week, and around 40% of these are released. So in a sense, things certainly seem to be moving in the right direction. But the fact remains that there are still almost 4,000 individuals serving IPP sentences. Progression must be faster, and go further.
Both Nick Hardwick, as Chair of the Parole Board, and Peter Clarke, Hardwick’s successor as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons, have both publicly stated that for things to move as quickly as many would like, policy and law must change. The responsibility for this, in the first instance, lays in the response of the Justice Secretary, Liz Truss.
David Blunkett, the Home Secretary responsible for implementing IPP sentences, was recently reported in an HMIP thematic review as saying “The consequences of bringing that Act in had led, in some cases, to an injustice and I regret that”.
2017 represents a golden opportunity, then, for Liz Truss. To succeed where her professional forebears have failed. To acknowledge ministerial, parliamentary and policy mistakes of the past, and prevent them from occurring in the future. And to effect changes which, while they cannot undo the injustices for the past for IPPs, may reduce the certainty of what we might call ‘Lord Chancellor’s regret’ for the future. Be just Justice Secretary Truss, be bold – and make this a better year for IPPs and their families.
Wishing all my readers a happier, safer and more hopeful year for 2017.
Prisoners Riot And Protest For The Same Reason Anyone Else Does: Because They Are Not Being Heard

Prisoners riot and protest for the same reason anyone else does: because they are not being heard. In the past two months riots have swept through five prisons, inmates have sawed their way out of their cells to escape and one prisoner has been stabbed to death. Our prisons are in desperate, heart-breaking crisis and the disturbance at HMP Swaleside last night was yet another act of desperation from prisoners who feel they have no voice. We need to stop pointing fingers and start listening before any more violence takes hold.

As a criminal barrister I have worked with many prisoners and represented those serving Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences at Parole Board hearings. They tell me how few prisons provide for their basic hygiene needs, how poor the food is, and how they do not have access to the rehabilitative courses they are required to go on. They are incarcerated, but they are still human and they still have the same basic needs as everyone else, and they have the right to be treated as such. Our prison service has become so stretched it is at breaking point and we are failing to meet the most basic of prisoners’ needs; let alone assist in their rehabilitation. How then can we expect them to do anything but protest?
Government cuts and privatisation have seen the number of prison officers in the UK fall as the prison population grows and outbreaks of violence and insecurity are the inevitable result. In the last year, the number of assaults in prisons has risen by one third, while those on staff have gone up by 40 per cent. The rise in self-inflicted deaths was up almost one third and self-harm has increased by 27 per cent. These injuries and deaths are often preventable and highlight the inadequacies in mental health and information gathering that takes place. Inmates and staff are dangerously vulnerable and never has the argument for bringing the prison service back into public hands been stronger. Privatisation is once again failing those who are the most at risk.

 Just one week ago the worst riot in a British prison in a decade gripped HMP Birmingham as 600 inmates took control of a wing for 12 hours, resulting in one prisoner being taken to hospital. In response Liz Truss, the Justice Secretary, said those responsible “will face the full force of the law”. This statement gives away Truss’ utter failure to grasp the problem and a lack of insight into the reasons behind the crisis. If we are serious about addressing the problems facing our gaols we must reduce the number of people in them. Increasing custodial sentences for those who commit infractions in prison is only making the problem worse: instead we should be asking why those inmates took the action they did in the first place.
Our aim should be to close prisons because there is so little demand for them, as is happening in the Netherlands. On top of ending threats to lengthen the sentences of inmates who riot, we must urgently work to release prisoners serving IPP sentences, many of whom have served many months or years longer than their minimum term. It is utterly unjust and unjustifiable that almost 4,000 people are still trapped in prison beyond their release date, many of whom committed crimes attracting very low sentences in the first place. The Government’s failure to act is responsible for people’s lives being wasted behind bars. There is no excuse for continuing to detain people who have served their time, four years after IPP sentences were abolished.
The most important task we face is to address why people end up in prison in the first place. The failed model of short prison sentences should be scrapped immediately and replaced with community rehabilitation, reducing the strain on prisons, administering community based punishments whilst also equipping often vulnerable people with the life skills they so desperately need to prevent reoffending. Of course in cases of serious offending prison is the appropriate punishment, however in cases of less serious offending, prison is rarely the place that positive change can take place. It is also of fundamental importance to recognise that we need to invest in education and tackle poverty and inequality. Prevention is, of course, better than cure.
Charley Pattison is the Green Party justice spokesperson


liz Truss- Not to mention an ever growing amount of the public! Add to that psychologists, prison officers/governors, even children! How can this still be left in the hands of one woman who let's face it knows jack about prisons /sentences.. Etc.. And has basically grunted a pile of crap about no more drugs and rehabilitation! It's been 6 months love and it's only got worse!! A bad example of girl power!!!
Toner Just had a phone call from my son who is in HMP Chelmsford. The prison is on lock down. The prison officers are letting a few out at a time to make phone calls. My thoughts go out to his family. Take 2 minutes of your time today to spare a thought for all the poor souls trapped in the system whilst fighting their own demons but also for the many poor souls who have lost their battle.

Horton She really is a waste of space. It's very easy to spout cliches about "violence in our prisons will not be tolerated", or saying how important rehabilitation is, but she does absolutely nothing about the causes of the violence or the lack of proper rehabilitation.

 prisoners often banged up in their cells for days at a time, and very high levels of violence. Right now a prisoner takes their own life every 3 days, and many more harm themselves, at the highest rate since records began. "IPP" prisoners, trapped inside without a release date, are the most likely to kill and harm themselves.
This time of year will be a difficult time for prisoners and their friends and families on the outside. Let’s stand with prisoners & let them know they are not forgotten. Come to this prison demo with your loudest noisemakers, and let’s build the pressure on the Governor of HMP Hindley to act.
Michael J. O'Mahoney January 2017
GOOD NEWS; I have been out on licence 3 years 10 months and today was granted 5 days abroad in Spain/Gibraltar to work for a friend's media company. I applied last year to see family in Ireland, was told no, told I need to be working etc. Have been working for a family friend for a year and applied last week thinking they would say no. Spoke to the ACO of Bedfordshire who told me they had granted me to go abroad and she seemed genuinely happy for me. My co-defendant has been ...out 5 and a half years (we had separate boards being in separate prisons) and went to South Africa a few months ago with his university course and he is due to sit the board to have his licence supervision dropped meaning no more reporting and can live wherever he likes and go abroad without permission. We were also both recalled for stupid things and did 4 years on recall, got out and have come this far. So pass this onto your loved ones and anyone else you know in this IPP hell. With some discipline, hard work and luck there will be light at the end of this long tunnel.   

After 4 years of law abiding living you can apply to have your supervision element lifted, not the whole sentence/licence. But it'll mean no more reporting and you do not have to say where you are living, job undertaking or if you can go abroad. You cannot apply to have your supervision lifted yourself but your Offender Manager can request to management and the region's ACO for your supervision to be lifted via the parole board. I find it scandalous that you have not been told this and you are the only person I know to have been out so long. My co-defendant has been out 5 and a half years and his newly 'qualified' 22 year old OM still won't put him forward for his supervision to be removed.
Peterson  Life licence will be  removed after10 years sadly not for 2 strikers
Mccarthy January 2017
Hi Everyone Hope all had a lovely Christmas, And all the best for the new year,2017 I have had a very nerve racking and emotional Christmas, Having been in Limbo for almost 15 yrs our case, (mine and husbands )was heard on 22nd December, And we WON, I have been in a bit of a trance since, Now I have been blessed with a chest infection, feeling very ill, But still thinking about our ipps, is this going to be the year to get them all home where they belong, sick of these ppl taking the piss out of us, if there not gonna do anything, then we need to, I want my son home NOW What we gonna doooo???
Jay Planson  I was released 2, months ago , hoping for the best fingers crossed.  I am one of the Luck ones I kept my head down & got on with it I received a five IPP for GBH beating a man who sexually assaulted my partner. I done five years & six months. But the struggle don't stop once you're through that gate, I'm constantly thinking things through because if I don't I know they will march me straight back to square one.

Killeen  I've been out nearly 7 year can i apply to get license?  

Pettit 22 years old???..Good grief long gone are the days when life experience was a key element to getting such a post.How humiliating that must be for people who are much older!!. 
There is light at the end of the tunnel!!... my brother has been granted parole FINALLY!! 11 year on a 2 year IPP sentence. It's not gonna be easy I know this, he has many conditions on his licence but he is finally walking forward and not standing still. I will think about each and everyone of the IPP'S as if they were my own, I know how hard it affects families. NEVER GIVE UP HOPE. WE HEAR YA

Smith my partners just had his parole board deferred again, absolutely sick of it all.

Pentney  It's been course after course and she's told each time she will get released after she done it. But gets refused and told she has to do more each time!

Zing They have also killed more people than every prisoner in the known history of prisons on UK soil combined in just the last few years

Bevan Yeah unfortunately were unable to pay for one . They keep moving her and putting her on different courses

Umm it's to much money but which firm are u using I've changed swan and co they are very good x it's not fair when they do this I know how u feel.. Have u written to r mp to see what they can do to help? Kidney was failed  recall back to jail had offices next to him watching him in hospital standing outside his room but now I've told him since day one to report it and fight for what they did to u he was found not guilty at court as the officers beat him he has it on video and pictures. it was reported to the ipcc. I know full fact it kills them inside when they see inmates going home and they still sitting there after years.. Of no hope of coming home it's a form of torture and I think they should put all IPP together in one prison u will see the most relaxed prison ever lol cos they get each other understand each others pain and can relate with each other plus prison system don't know how to rehabilitate no one I think they would be better off out and they can do courses from the outside instead of banging them up for years on end Liz truss needs to sort her mess out big time.

Anne  under the now defunct rules on Imprisonment for Public Protection, known simply as “IPP”. These people don’t have a release date.
“Many prisoners today under IPP have already served time far beyond the normal tariff. They are left to languish until the parole board decides it is safe to let them out.
 I am saying it is time to speed up the process of evaluation to make sure that those who don’t pose any problem  to the public be allowed to go home as soon as possible.IPP Prisoner seeking release on the papers?
In our last article, we explained that changes were being made to the Parole Board rules; including the power of the Parole Board to release IPP prisoners into the community without the need for an Oral Hearing. The Parole Board Rules 2016 came into force on 22nd November 2016 and the power to release IPP prisoners on the papers relates to Parole reviews commenced before and after that date.
It is envisaged that this power will be used for more straightforward cases, including technical breaches of licence which have resulted in the recall of IPP prisoners. However, it is important that the Parole Board are reminded of their new power and that representations submitted seeking release on the papers


What happened to innocent until proven guilty?? It's the law right? So how many of our men who go before the parole board, (maybe not a court, but still a lawful interview, that must abide by the laws) have actually committed a fresh crime that they've committed AFTER their minimum tariff? A crime that would actually warrant a further prison sentence?? my guess is if it isn't none it's as close as!! So that's unlawful right? Otherwise surely you'd have to put every member of the public before a court/parole board to judge their intentions/risks in life! Least this way they'd potentially have more of the real dangerous people locked up! My question is.. Is what they're doing actually even legal? Anybody on here works in law and knows if this is questionable on a higher level or am I talking shit!?? IF THEM GOVERMENT  TRUELY BELIEVE THEYRE REHABILITATING THEM IN PRISON.... THEN THEYRE MORE  DANGEROUS THAN ANY OF THEM IN's true! And what's more worrying is that these people think to rehabilitate is to keep you locked up around the same people they want you to no longer be, and they're trying to rehabilitate them with fresh faced prison officers who've barely left school, many prisoners who are at least twice their age and lived twice the harsh lives as them are they gonna wanted be dictated to by people, (who no fault of their own I will add) not trained to do so! It's a sorry state when members of the public they think they're trying to protect, ie like me and yourself, think the prison system would be better run by ex prisoners than the government! If it wasn't so serious it would be funny!

Davis 3 year 4 month ipp  now he's coming up to 9 years inside , I can't wait for him to be home .
Mccourt Totally agree with everyone that the woman is incapable of doing the job . She is out of her depth and constantly avoids talking about ipps whenever anyone asks her about her plans she just waffles and changes the subject . I dont understand why she got the job when she knows nothing about it . I cant see us making any progress with her in charge .
Robinson I recon some1 in school that is thinking of taking some interest in politics could do a better job than Liz truss, she is shit and needs to go! Give the Job to some1 that wants to make some kind of difference. Not just words of hot air coz her breath stinks of lies.... some1 get her an Andrex to wipe her mouth LOL!

Hi there
I was looking at the ipp blog ,My partner is on a ipp licence but just been released, the impact had still taken its toll and has really changed him as a man .There is no real help or support and only feel like we are analysed constantly or criticised . All of us suffer !!I just don't don't where there is a support group for everyone who lives and deals with this in humane sentence . Any information would be greatly a participated. Victoria

Hi Victoria.
Nothing has been acted on with regards to cancelling for those with an IPP sentence. Cancelling ought to be there because there sentence has been exacerbated by the stress and torment of the IPP license conditions the unjust consequence of living with the torture of the human rights violation and being detained unlawfully. The Prevailing conditions being move around the country during the course of their sentences which can make it hard for them to see their children.
Prisoners are, by definition, cut off from the rest of society, and their access to supportive friends and family may be limited. These policies can eliminate prisoners’ ability to communicate with and receive support from loved ones. Phone calls are costly, and prisoners from impoverished backgrounds may have families who can’t afford to cover the costs of collect calls, however infrequent. inmates often don't will not seek support in prison encase it is goes against them. Prisoners are concerned more with gaining respect and avoiding fights in a relentless pursuit of safety.
Support from loved ones can play a critical role in helping people overcome mental challenges which the system are reckless I learning lessons . The isolation can increase a person’s risk of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
while in prison you can ignored basic rules of society , getting out it is hard to adjust often some are incarcerated lather for nonviolent drug crimes that are the result of substance addiction therefore it is important to seek support. I would get a referral from your local GP .
Just a snap shot of reasons why people seek cancelling after .....
















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